Early on, I heard the pros and cons of dating a woman with a child. Hearing the warnings of many, including family, that would tell of the pitfalls of jumping into a “ready-made family”. For the longest time, I swore against ever going down that road. Little did I know, I would fall in love with a beautiful woman who would later become my wife, and become a father to an awesome kid that is not mine (biologically) but still love and care for him as if he were.
Now, this didn’t come without its obstacles; and we still have our hiccups from time to time, but in this institution, every day is still a learning process. So, in my learning, I have taken some tips that I’m going to share, in hopes that it will help that lady (or gent) going down that same road.
1. Good things come to those who wait
Don’t expect to meet the child anytime soon. Any decent parent is going to get to know you first and make you sure that you have your stuff together before they even think of introducing you to their child. There are far too many instances in which this wasn’t practiced and later resulted in tragic results. Be sure to show your partner your best you, and then you can introduce the idea of meeting their little one.
2. Patience is a virtue
Very seldom is the first encounter between you and the child rosy. The bubbliness is always one sided and you can expect many questions with one word responses. They’ll probably ask, “who’s that?” They probably won’t warm up to you immediately for a number of reasons; and it may be a while before they do. Just as you had to keep at it to win the parent over, you have to do the same with the child. Don’t get discouraged, stay focused on the greater win.
3. Baby Mama/Daddy Drama – Keep Calm and Carry On
Depending on the situation, you’ll eventually have the encounter with “baby mama” or “baby daddy” and again, depending on the situation, that encounter may not be with open arms. This is for good reason because they have questions themselves and don’t want just anyone around their child. Regardless of how buckwild they may, or may not get, always maintain your cool, stand your ground, and never show tension or disrespect in front of the child. In most cases, your mate will already have informed the other and have parameters set.
Show interest. When dating someone with a child, how you respond to the child will make or break you. Showing interest means the world to both parties; be sure that you’re doing it without your mate prompting you, which leads me to the last and most important thing…
5. Be real and authentic!
Children are very good at reading vibes and can spot a phony a mile away. They know if you’re really trying to get to know them or if you’re faking the funk to try and get in good with their parent. If you’re really trying to be in their lives, know that they are a package deal and true, sincere love will have to be given to both.